• Nov 4, 2009
2008 Dodge Dakota - Click above for high-res image gallery

In a rambling presentation that presented almost nothing of any value, Fred Diaz, CEO of Chrysler's newly-created Ram brand, did drop at least one little tidbit in passing. Currently the Dodge truck offerings consist of only two vehicles, the full-size Ram and the mid-size Dakota. The long-term fate of the Dakota has been the subject of much speculation but one of Diaz's slides did mention that Ram was considering a replacement. The key word was "considering."

Interestingly, the possible replacement would be based on a unibody platform which in all likelihood would be derived from the new Grand Cherokee/Durango architecture. That would be a big departure for Chrysler – jumping into a vehicle type that currently consists of only the slow selling Honda Ridgeline. If Chrysler were to build this vehicle, it would make sense to do something to differentiate it from the big Ram, and perhaps with the right styling and powertrain – perhaps something like the Rampage concept from 2006 – it could be more successful than the Honda.

The current Durango will remain in production until mid-2011 and the new truck, if approved, would not launch until at least then.





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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 32 Comments
      Nancy Hinton
      • 1 Month Ago

      No ! Looks like the damn Colorado.

      • 5 Years Ago
      Ridgeline my foot! A unibody mid-size truck based on the (Grand-)Cherokee is nothing short of the return of the vaunted COMANCHE!!! Could be entertaining.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Nooooo!

      Make a light truck that has good cargo capacity in terms of volume, but don't make a crappy Ridgeline competitor.
        • 5 Years Ago
        The ridgeline obviously doesn't sell too well, otherwise the it wouldn't be referred to as the "slow-selling ridgeline". Not a horrible idea if done well, give it a V8 option and genuine 4x4 plus a higher payload to set it apart from the Honda competitor and it could do fairly well.
        • 5 Years Ago
        guess i being buying fords from now on
      • 5 Years Ago
      This would be a fatal mistake on their part. *IF* Fiat goes through with it, it will be the biggest screw up since the merger with Daimler.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Make it more like a 'ute a l'Australia and I may be one considering it.

      Key word "considering."
      • 5 Years Ago
      I've long thought that the Rampage concept, and others like it, had some significant merit.

      Granted, it wouldn't make for a great single truck offering, but it might work in combination with other, more traditional trucks in the lineup, like Ram, for instance.

      But a longitudinal-drivetrain, front-drive truck might actually do well. I don't like FWD for performance, nor for torque steer, and other characteristics.

      But a utility vehicle is not a performance vehicle. And torque-steer is largely eliminated by a longitudinal, symmetrical drivetrain. The engine, gearbox, and it's integrated front differential (similar to a Subaru or Audi transaxle that runs FWD only, which Subaru used to do, and Audi still does)

      Without a rear drivetrain, it allows a much lower load floor, and more cubic feet of cargo, and possibly more room for the rear suspension to be load-specific, or even adaptable.

      Ridgeline is an option, doesn't mean it is the best execution of a uni-body light truck, nor does it mean that alternatives to the age-old paradigm shouldn't be explored, in parallel to the traditional frame-based truck. Not everything needs to go rock-crawling, nor does everything need to haul 12,000lbs of cargo in the bed. Some lower limits, but with greater flexibility and access, could be good for the DIYer, or other lighter-utility uses for light trucks.
        • 5 Years Ago
        How is that any worse than current, with 80/20, and un-loaded RWD?

        Traction would actually be better for a FWD truck, due to the drivetrain's weight.

        And just because there is no rear differential or rear prop-shaft, doesn't mean there isn't a rear axle, or substantial rear weight-bearing support under the bed floor, or for towing. A drive shaft and rear differential don't add that much weight to the rear half of a truck's structure, the structure and body still weigh something. With cargo management, bedside, or under-floor storage boxes, towing equipment, variable-

        It is easier to get un-driven wheels to trail than to be pushed, anyway. As I said, a utility vehicle isn't a performance vehicle, so taking turns at higher speeds, in inclement weather isn't exactly a design requirement. One wouldn't tow a light weight trailer like that, so why would one try to rally-race a utility vehicle like that? Not every vehicle has to be a race car.

        And that is also not to say there couldn't be a low-profile rear driveline for AWD to be optional, as well. Again, Subaru and Audi have such symmetrical AWD systems, and their floor heights aren't that high.

        And remember, I am not suggesting that this be a replacement for a Jeep or a Ram truck... but rather a lighter-duty, more flexible utility truck option along side them.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Who says it has to be FWD? Yes, the concept was but there's no reason they couldn't build it off of the LX platform. GM was exploring doing the same thing with the G8 platform when they produced the Denali XT concept.
        • 5 Years Ago
        90/10 would be about 10% worse than 80/20...well, you asked
        • 5 Years Ago
        a FWD pickup truck? 2 words: Weight Distribution, it would be about 90/10. Have fun going around a corner in the rain.
        • 5 Years Ago
        A rear wheel drive pickup without cargo in the bed doesn't exactly have a nice weight distribution either.

        The reason a truck is RWD is that occasionally your weight distribution changes quite radically, 1 ton in the bed, or weight being put on the rear from towing.

        Think about the traction you would get with FWD hauling a ton in the bed.. or pulling a boat out of the water.

        the 2nd generation Dakota truck was perfect. Not to big, but had the same capacities as the larger 1500s.
        • 5 Years Ago
        "90/10 would be about 10% worse than 80/20...well, you asked"

        Except that the weight would be on the driven wheels in FWD, which would give it better traction in the wet.
      • 5 Years Ago
      The Ridgeline has only a few things that are holding it back from being a real success: it's hideous, gets poor fuel economy, and it's priced too high. If Dodge can produce a midsize truck that addresses all those problems while maintaining it's innovative features, there's no reason a unibody Dakota replacement wouldn't be a success.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Make it EXACTLY Like the Rampage Concept and they will have a winner. Keep the sliding doors and the removable/stowable seats.
      Most people who want a small/midsize truck are weekend warriors anyway. If it's competent and given a good enough towing ability to tug 2 PWC or Dirt bikes you'd be good.
        • 5 Years Ago
        The Rampage is FWD, so that would be a total loser.
        • 5 Years Ago
        People said the same thing when automakers introduced FWD SUVs. Now they dominate the market. Chrysler needs to start taking a few chances. It's not like they have anything to lose anymore.
      • 5 Years Ago
      What about a Diesel engine?
      • 5 Years Ago
      The Grand Cherokee / Durango aren't exactly high MPG vehicles, which kind of defeats the purpose of making a unibody pickup. I mean, if you're going to compromise load capacity, there should be a real benefit in exchange.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I like the Rampage.
      bobhorn85
      • 3 Years Ago
      Now that takes balls! I just hope they build it right? Keep it light! big brakes, many engine choices? Make it handle better than any other truck on the road! Give us commuters a high miliage Diesel option and oh yea a Stick shift? Maybe I can sell my Toyo X-Runner.
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